Christmas morning and outside it was lightly snowing against a landscape of crisp white. We started to exchange Christmas presents and my wife handed me a gift-wrapped box. I could tell immediately by the weight it was something interesting. As I removed the outer gift wrapping, I experienced a moment of indescribable excitement.
Tearing more gift wrapping away, revealed a brand new Leica IIIg in its original box. I opened the box with trepidation to reveal what I can only describe as the perfect machine with its brand new chrome and little windows glinting back at me. As I took it out of the box, the matching Elmar 2.8 lens reflected a crescent half-moon of purple and yellow light from its bloomed surface. My first task was to test the apertures and moving from one f-stop to the next allowed the tiny race bearings to sink into their allotted pots with an almost inaudible click. The dark grey bladed diaphragm moving to symmetrical smaller and larger rings of encircling grey centricity, with an icy black depth to the inner aperture circle. Next I tested the shutter on each speed, the clockwork mechanism working perfectly after each advance and selection of speed. When I pressed the shutter the response was immediate. The faster speeds sounded like a small insect taking a short intake of breath. At the slower speeds it beat like a mechanical heart as it fired.
Cradling the base plate in both hands and looking through the the viewfinder, I could see the brightline finders giving me precise compositional boundaries, together with the view of top, bottom, right and left, showing what was just out of shot. Moving my eye to the rangefinder window I found the telephoto view provided a crisp sharp differentiation of split image, which smoothly moved together as my index finger moved the focus ring to fine focus areas of view.
Another present revealed a little box of FP4 film. I carefully removed it from its box and proceeded to cut the leader to a longer length and load into the IIIg. A most enjoyable introspective activity of loading a IIIg and putting on a coat I announced my intention to go for a walk and try to do justice to my new machine. I placed the camera strap round my neck, embedding it snugly into the collar of my coat. Turning to my wife I told her "I am just going outside and may be some time."
The Marks & Spencer socks are not quite the same.
Happy Christmas Guys.